Subaru’s quandary is a lesson concerning the downsides of ultraefficient operations. Subaru notched 11 straight years of document U.S. gross sales outcomes by 2019, with mum or dad firm working revenue margin hovering into the double digits, leaping as excessive as 17.5 p.c in 2017.
Then the pandemic knocked Subaru off beam, because it did different automakers, and the chip scarcity compounded the disaster.
Subaru’s U.S. gross sales are anticipated to slip in 2021 for a second straight yr after falling 13 p.c in 2020 from an all-time excessive of 700,117 deliveries. It could be the primary time Subaru has suffered back-to-back gross sales slumps since 1995, virtually three a long time in the past.
Via November, Subaru’s U.S. gross sales have been 532,664, a decline of two.9 p.c from a yr earlier. Nakamura predicted the full-year tally will are available beneath 600,000, in contrast with 611,942 final yr.
Subaru’s tepid gross sales come whilst rivals zoom forward — with Toyota Motor Corp., Mazda Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Hyundai and Kia all reporting double-digit proportion features for the primary 11 months of the yr.
Nakamura predicted Subaru’s U.S. gross sales will bounce again to round 650,000 autos in 2022.
However first, he mentioned, the automaker should safe sufficient microchips to churn out the automobiles.
Nakamura mentioned the semiconductor scarcity is easing. However as chip foundries elevate their output, automakers are flooding them with orders in a mad scramble to seize pent-up demand and make up misplaced floor.
“We’re not precisely positive at this level how a lot provide that we are able to get,” Nakamura mentioned.
“Subsequent yr, each auto producer goes to be recovering, and they are going to attempt to construct their inventories again to regular,” he mentioned. “We do not assume the foundries and semiconductor suppliers are going to have the ability to reply to each a kind of orders.”
That’s one cause Subaru is anticipating a gradual ramp-up in 2022, Nakamura mentioned.